Column

Prell: Unexpected changes

Jennifer Prell
Jennifer Prell

If you are like me, you find aging an interesting process. The subtle changes are not noticeable until you look at yourself in a mirror or find that choosing words is becoming more difficult. Imagine being a senior or an older adult who now must embrace an entirely different lifestyle because memory loss or physical changes that limit their mobility. It’s not fun, surely not easy and difficult to accept that the few extra steps of youth are long gone. So why do we call these the “golden years?”

Many of us that have aging parents or loved ones ask a common question, what can we do to help transitioning seniors? Taking time to understand their unique talents, interests and health situation is a good start. Offering verbal encouragement and being supportive of their needs will go a long way toward improving their outlook on life.

It’s important to be respectful and not speak with older adults like they’re your children. They’re not. Offering advice and telling someone what to do are two distinctly different things. Offering a helping hand when it’s needed, screening and securing professional assistance with the household chores, a handyman, adaptability company or even in-home care professionals are a good way to assist and improve life quality.

If isolation is a worry, obtaining round-trip transportation is a good idea. Getting older adults engaged and living life with purpose adds to enjoyment and longevity.

Labeling drawers, cabinets and bins with pictures of the items inside is very helpful to those who have lost some cognition. Make sure to place items within easy reach and that all heavy items are close to the floor. If you need ideas or help finding elder care, the Elderwerks Senior Resource Directory includes services, support and benefits in Illinois, and is available at no charge. Contact Elderwerks at 855-462-0100 to request your copy.

• Jennifer Prell is president of Elderwerks Educational Services, a nonprofit offering complimentary information, referrals and guidance to older adults, seniors and their families. For information, visit elderwerks.org or call 855-462-0100 for personal assistance.

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